The Brain Injury Family Intervention Protocol

Carol Gan, marriage and family therapist, talks about common issues after TBI

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Over the past year and a half I've been working on a brain injury family intervention protocol for adolescents with brain injury in their families. And in this intervention, we are targeting adolescents 13 to 19 years of age, and the entire family system. It's not just the adolescent, but it also includes the siblings, as well as the parents, and it's a structured manualized intervention. It's 12 sessions, 12 topics. The reason it is structured and manualized is because there are very few guidelines out there for clinicians on how best to intervene with families after brain injury. And the brain injury family intervention for adolescents was derived from the adult brain injury family intervention which is empirically-based, meaning it was derived from research, and the areas that families find most helpful and in need of support. So because it was empirically-based, we thought we would build on that. And some of the outcomes from the adult biffy are very promising, and we're hoping to replicate some of those promising findings. Now, the intervention covers topics such as what happens after brain injury, brain injury is a family affair, Is it adolescence? Is it brain injury? returning to school and dealing with transitions, coping with loss and change, family problem solving, etcetera. What we've tried to do with the adolescent version is to make it as a fun and as interactive as possible because adolescents aren't going to sit through an hour long session, filling out forms, and just having your traditional counseling, so we've had to make it fun through vignettes, through role plays, through activities, and we may even incorporate a Dr. Phil into our intervention, as well as some games and activities where people do some role playing. So that's a new intervention that we've just launched in the past year, and we're very excited to be introducing it to clinicians.
Posted on BrainLine April 29, 2009. Reviewed January 16, 2018.

About the author: Caron Gan, RN

Caron Gan is an Advanced Practice Nurse, Registered Psychotherapist, and Registered Marriage and Family Therapist with the Ontario and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). She has worked with clients with brain injury, providing psychotherapeutic intervention to youth, adults, couples, and families.

Produced by Victoria Tilney McDonough and Brian King.